"If you want to find your happy place, just go to the library." ~ Lizzie K. Foley, Author

Posts tagged ‘PhotoStory’

Ready for Programming to Begin…

Tomorrow is it.  October 1st.  The day all school-wide programs start at my school.  I’ve been dreading this since Day 1.

I don’t know what it’s like in other school libraries.  Quite honestly, when I was a classroom teacher, I didn’t usually stay with my class when they went to the library.  When I taught at Coats, I stayed a few times.   It was story-time and she used puppets.  Usually while she was working with the kids, I was in the professional loft gathering resources though.  I just watched as I did what I needed to do.  When I taught at W.T. Brown, classes didn’t go to the library — they only did checkout and it was flex so it wasn’t a “bring your class” thing — just a send the kids in pairs when/if they asked.  When I taught at Wayne Avenue, we had a fixed schedule and we dropped them off.  She did a worksheet-based lesson with them, then checkout.  And then at North Drive…  my assistant usually took them and dropped them off.  I think it, again, was just a story and/or a checkout.

Now that I’m the media coordinator, I have an entirely flex schedule…  With a few exceptions.  I teach reading to 2nd graders from 8:35-9:05 in the mornings, and in the afternoons I teach character education lessons to kindergarten.  We lost an assistant, and that same class lost a scheduled computer lab time, so to accommodate, I keep that class in my library’s computer lab one day a week for 30 minutes or so, allowing that teacher the opportunity to attend her grade-level planning meeting.  And I have 12 mentees that I work with.

I don’t mind doing any of this stuff.  I love working with the kids.  It just makes it hard for teachers to schedule time to come.  My blocks of time that are carved out seem to be the times they want the most.

And what about collaboration?  My teachers want to use the library as a drop-zone.  Ditch the kids and run!  I’ll get a teacher who wants me to work on a skill from time to time, but it’ll be, “What are you doing with my class today, cuz it would be great if you could give them a lesson on nuclear fission for me — I haven’t had a chance to touch on science this week.  Just read them a good informational book and we’ll call it done.”  Really?  Sorry, Hon.  If you want to plan something, I need notice.  If you didn’t give me a request when you signed up a week or two ago, then you’re getting the library skill or thematic story I planned for them, and a checkout.  And if you want them doing a PROJECT, you need to plan it WITH me.  It’s YOUR job to teach them this stuff.  It’s my job to kick it up a notch and make it interesting.

I’m excited about the mentees though.  I know all 12 of the kids.  A couple of them ride my last nerve…  But they’re all sweet (when they wanna be), and mean well (most of the time, at least).  A few are actually readers who’ll be glad about spending time every week with me.  Most won’t.  So, I want to do something interesting with them.  I want to teach them how to do things with the computers.  I want to teach them to blog.  I want to teach them to use animoto and photostory.  I can teach them to use the digital cameras and flip video cameras.  There are lots of things we can do to make their learning fun, and get them excited about coming to the library.  I’ll give them the chance to “show off” what they’ve done to their classmates when their classes come.  The kids love book trailers — they’ll be so excited to make them for books they’ve read and show them off to their friends.  🙂

So anyway…  it all starts tomorrow.  I’ve got 2 weeks’ of reading lesson plans done and the materials gathered.  I’ve got my first two weeks’ worth of character ed lessons lined up too.  Now to just keep up the pace for the rest of the year…  Only a hundred and how many days left till summer vacation?

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Better Than a Book Report

The current school year is coming to a close and I, personally, am spending most of my time working on the inventory and other year-end paperwork.  Throw in a lot of EOG testing duties, the occasional “fix the copier,” a lot of “Can I get a movie?” questions, and I’m not left with much time for anything else.  But, once all this is finished, I can start to think about what I can do differently next year.

But anyway…  My mind was already beginning to wander.  I want to push my students further next year and see what I can get out of them.  I get a lot of my older kids coming to the library daily.  Every time they get a chapter book.  Are they reading them?  Obviously not.  They’re too hard, they’re too boring, they’re too long…  They aren’t giving them much of a chance.  I want to make reading fun, but I want them to read with a purpose, too.  So, I was thinking of teaming up with teachers to do book reports.

[Insert moans and groans here.]

Of course, this is Me.  I want my media center to be FUN so that the students enjoy learning.  I want them to be excited about coming, and I want to encourage them to read, as well as to think about what they’ve read.  I want to enhance their classroom instruction and take their knowledge to new levels in fun and exciting ways that will promote lifelong learning.  So, of course, we’re not talking about your average, run of the mill book reports here.  🙂

#1   Make a Comic Book

I have recently been introducing my students to the wonderful world of graphic novels and they just cannot get enough of them!  I can’t keep them on the shelf.   With this in mind, comes suggestion #1…  Create a Comic Book.  They can make a comic book to sum up a story.  They can use words and dialogue to describe the setting, characters, and story events.  Not only does this incorporate artwork and a fun-factor, but it also enhances the lesson for those students who dread the thought of writing an essay.

#2   Make a Game

Your story weaves a trail from beginning to middle to end.  This trail is peppered with events, characters, changes in scenes.  So will their game.  Imagine…  You roll a die, and land on, “The pilot just had a heart attack.  You have to take the wheel but have no idea how to fly a plane.  Go back 2 spaces!”  and later maybe you’ll land on, “You successfully use your flint and steel to make a fire!  Move ahead 3 spaces!”  Students can create a board game based on the books they read, and these can then be shared with their friends.  Gaming in the library comes to life!  They can also make the  game pieces things that will relate back to the story, so in keeping with our “Hatchet” theme, they might make a hatchet, a plane, a fish, and a bear for the pieces.

#3   Make Life-Size Characters

Students need to lay on a big sheet of bulletin board paper and trace each other.  It doesn’t matter if they’re not a great artist — anyone can handle tracing.  Once they’ve done this, they need to dress their character.  They can do this with whatever you have available — fabric scraps, crayons, markers, paints…  The kids will have a great time with this.  Once their characters are created, they turn over and on the back they write about the character, along with a story summary.  These are also a great way to work on characterization.  They can think and how their character’s personality affected the story’s events.

#4  Show and Tell

What kid doesn’t love show and tell??  It was the best part of kindergarten, right?  Do they even do it anymore?  I don’t think they do at my school…  Anyway, let’s bring it back in an educational format that even our older kids will enjoy.  To begin, students will decorate a container with their book’s theme.  It can be a box, a coffee can, or even a paper bag.  Then, they carefully select 6 (or more) objects which will fit into this container that directly relate in some way to the story.  Two should represent events from the beginning of the story, 2 from the middle, and 2 from the ending.  As they share these objects with the class they describe how they relate to the story.

#5   Create a Book Trailer

Just like when you go to the movies and you see the trailers for upcoming releases, book trailers give you a taste of what the books are about to entice you into reading them.  I LOVE book trailers.  I make them to “advertise” our Battle of the Books selections.  Here are a couple of mine:

Both of these examples were made using animoto.com which I LOVE.  Free educator accounts are available for trial subscriptions.   Other free programs which you can use with your students include Windows MovieMaker,  and PhotoStory.